Wine Dinner Down Under

Posted on June 04, 2014 by admin

Tikis_VillaMariaDnr (1)

I’m excited to have Oliver Powrie, company viticulturist with Villa Maria winery join us for our upcoming wine dinner on Monday, June 16. “Ollie” is based in Hawkes Bay, the oldest of several wine growing areas in New Zealand. That area is well known for its Bordeaux blends, one of which we’ll be featuring. Villa Maria also operates in the Marlborough region where the Sauvignon Blanc is probably the best known New Zealand wine internationally.

Villa Maria has the distinction of being the most awarded winery in New Zealand and we’ve had their Sauvignon Blanc on our regular drink menu for some time. For this dinner we’re going to have a chance to try some of the other wines that are continuing to make these two regions famous.

We started planning for this dinner a few months ago with an early morning tasting and I remember having worked a bunch of late nights in a row so I had already had a coffee. I needed to get my palate straight so I just threw something together for breakfast. I don’t really remember what.

Going into this dinner I knew I wanted to include some of the outstanding food products out of New Zealand along with the best of our local produce to really highlight the flavor of the wines. I really love their farm raised king Salmon because it has beautiful fat to protein marbling. I found a great pairing with the Pinot Gris. It’s a slightly darker, almost amber white wine with very subtle fruit notes.

When we were going through the tasting I thought their big bold Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon blend would be perfect with the New Zealand rack of lamb I was thinking about. This Bordeaux blend is a little more complex than a straight merlot but it’s a really nicely balanced wine. We’re preparing the rack of lamb sous vide so it’s going to be melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was a tough call though as this wine also goes well with the Cervina Venison NY steak.

For the venison we’ve paired the 2010 Pinot Noir. This is a very intense wine with currant, cherry and some spicy notes. It’s an outstanding food wine. If you’ve never tried New Zealand venison you’re in for a double treat because we’re going to poach these steaks in olive oil. The oil poaching changes the consistency of the meat making it silky and takes out some of the gaminess that some people say they don’t like.

The Riesling was very light with some citrus and green apple notes. I’ve paired it with a spicy tom yum consommé with fresh local opakapaka. Hot and sour is a natural with this wine. That’s going to be very good.

As “Ollie” would say, this tea will be a wee cracker. Somebody told me to say that but as far as I know it means it’s going to be a fantastic night of great New Zealand wine and delicious food pairings. You should plan now to join us. For more information and tickets go to Tiki’s Grill Wine Dinner.

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